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2001 (also referred to as The Chronic 2001 or The Chronic II) is the second studio album by American rapper and hip hop producer Dr. Dre. It was released on November 16, 1999, by Aftermath Entertainment and Interscope Records as the follow-up to his 1992 debut album, The Chronic. The album was produced mainly by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man, as well as Lord Finesse, and features several guest contributions from fellow U.S. rappers such as Hittman, Snoop Dogg, Kurupt, Xzibit, Eminem, and Nate Dogg.
2001 exhibits an expansion on Dre's debut G-funk sound and contains gangsta rap themes such as violence, crime, promiscuity, sex, drug use, and street gangs. The album debuted at number 2 on the U.S. Billboard 200 chart, selling 516,000 copies in its first week. It produced three singles that attained chart success and has been certified 6× Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA); as of August 2015 the album has sold 7,800,000 copies in the United States. 2001 received generally positive reviews from critics, many of whom praised the production and music, although some found the lyrics objectionable.
After the release of Chronic 2000, they announced that Dr. Dre's album would now be named Chronic 2001. Shortly after, Interscope began a big budget promotional campaign for Chronic 2001. At this point, Priority decided not to honor the original agreement and threatened to sue Dre if the Chronic trademark were to be used in any capacity. Dre eventually decided to release the album as simply 2001.
The album marked the beginning of Dr. Dre's collaboration with keyboardist Scott Storch, who had previously worked with The Roots and is credited as a co-writer on several of 2001's tracks, including the hit single "Still D.R.E.". Storch would later go on to become a successful producer in his own right, and has been credited as a co-producer with Dr. Dre on some of his productions since.
"The Next Episode" was released as the third and final single in 2000. It peaked at number 23 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 11 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks and number 2 on the Rhythmic Top 40. It peaked at number three on UK single charts in February 2001. It was nominated at the 2001 Grammy Awards for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, but the award went to another single from the same album to Dr. Dre and Eminem for "Forgot About Dre".
2001 received generally positive reviews from critics. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of AllMusic stated, "2001 isn't as consistent or striking as Slim Shady, but the music is always brimming with character." Entertainment Weekly's Tom Sinclair praised the production, calling it "uncharacteristically sparse sound" from Dr. Dre and that it was as "addictive as it was back when over 3 million record buyers got hooked on The Chronic and Snoop Dogg's Dre-produced Doggystyle" and went on to commend Dr. Dre, stating, "If any rap producer deserves the title "composer", it's he." NME mentioned that Dr. Dre didn't expand the genre, but it was "powerful enough in parts, but not clever enough to give Will Smith the fear". PopMatters writer Chris Massey declared that "Musically, 2001 is about as close to brilliant as any one gangsta rap album might possibly get." Christopher John Farley of Time stated that "The beats are fresh and involving, and Dre's collaborations with Eminem and Snoop Dogg have ferocity and wit." Although he was ambivalent towards the album's subject matter and guest rappers, Greg Tate of Spin was pleasantly surprised by "the most memorable MC'ing on this album com[ing] from Dre himself, Eminem notwithstanding" and stated, "Whatever one's opinion of the sexual politics and gun lust of Dre's canon, his ongoing commitment to formal excellence and sonic innovation in this art form may one day earn him a place next to George Clinton, if not Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington, or Miles Davis."
In a negative review, Robert Christgau from The Village Voice found Dr. Dre's lyrics distastefully misogynistic, writing "it's a New Millennium, but he's Still S.L.I.M.E. ... For an hour, with time out for some memorable Eminem tracks, Dre degrades women every way he can think of, all of which involve his dick." Chicago Tribune critic Greg Kot said Dr. Dre's production boasted unique elements but "the endless gangsta babble, with its casual misogyny and flippant violence," sounded flagrantly trite. AllMusic's Erlewine spoke of how the number of guest rappers affected the album, and questioned his reasons for collaborating with "pedestrian rappers". He claimed that "the album suffers considerably as a result [of these collaborations]". Erlewine criticized the lyrics, which he said were repetitive and full of "gangsta clichés". Sinclair mentioned similar views of the lyrics, calling them "filthy", but noted "none of [this] should diminish Dre's achievement". NME spoke of how the lyrics were too explicit, stating, "As the graphic grooves stretch out, littered with gunfire, bombings and 'copters over Compton, and the bitch-beating baton is handed from Knock-Turnal to Kurupt, 2001 reaches gangsta-rap parody-level with too many tracks coming off like porno-Wu outtakes." Massey referred to the lyrics as a "caricature of an ethos [rather] than a reflection of any true prevailing beliefs."
Dr. Dre's 2001 was an event album to close the 90s. Originally conceived as an official sequel to his watershed solo debut, 1992s The Chronic, this particular album maintained that spiritual connection to it's predecessor even after legal wrangling necessitated a name change. Dre famously defected from Death Row Records in 1996, yet The Chronic 2000 was the name for a Death Row-released compilation slated just before Y2K. Dre's old nemesis Suge Knight was overseeing that project; and Dre's Aftermath label decided to bypass any conflict by renaming his new album, first The Chronic 2001, and then simply 2001. 2b1af7f3a8